Categories
glamorous

My Glamorous Life

At 4:00 PM, I went to bed to rest up from my head cold, and promptly fell asleep.

When I awoke, the clock said 7:15. Oh, no!

I banged on my daughter’s door. “You’re going to be late to school!” I shouted.

She cackled with laughter.“It’s 7:15 AT NIGHT,” she explained.

Categories
Design

The state of things

At the end of therapy this morning, I felt like the lone Samurai at the end of a Japanese movie. His warlord has betrayed him, his fellow Samurai have fallen into dishonor, and the rice crop failed. After a last meditation, he emerges from his tent, sword flashing, to die fighting 10,000 men. I told this to my therapist and we both laughed. 

Categories
1hug family glamorous parenting

One Hug

JUST WEEKS ago, my daughter’s mother moved out of state. The kid’s been having a tough time with it, and with school, and with her upcoming tenth birthday, which won’t work out the way she hoped. And then, over the weekend, her laptop and mine both broke—hers by cat-and-ginger-ale misfortune, mine by gravity abetted by my stupidity.

To lighten the mood, this morning broke grey, pounding rain. We pulled on our hoodies, scooped up our bodega umbrellas, and shrugged on our backpacks—hers heavy with school books, mine with gym clothes, a camera, and two busted laptops.

We were standing by the elevator when an apartment door burst open and Ava’s best friend in the world sprinted down the hall to hug her good morning. The two girls embraced until the elevator arrived.

The whole dark wet walk to school, my child hummed happily to herself.

#1hug

Categories
family glamorous

Dog Day Morning

THE DOGS leave today.

While my ex has been away this month, I’ve watched her two small dogs. And so have my two cats—especially the black alpha. Add an active eight year old girl to that menagerie and you have 34 busy but blissful days.

That time ends now.

This morning my daughter and the dogs shuffle off to her mother’s apartment, where her grandparents will take loving care of them all.

I mark the occasion by packing my bag for Boston and clearing away a last wet wee wee pad.

Funny the things you can get sentimental over.

Categories
family glamorous

That’s love.

FOR TWO YEARS, our daughter was bullied in school. The school didn’t notice and our daughter didn’t complain so we didn’t know. Finally a mom saw and told us. After that, things happened quickly. One result is that we changed schools.

During those first two years, our daughter shut down emotionally and psychologically from the moment the bell rang in the morning until school let out at night. Maybe this shutting down was a reaction to the bullying. Maybe there were other causes. What’s certain is that she didn’t learn. She didn’t learn the kindergarten stuff. She didn’t learn the first grade stuff.

The old school noticed the learning problems and provided support programs that helped, but did not close the gap. The school warned us our daughter would probably flunk kindergarten, but in the end they passed her along to first grade. The first grade teacher worried, but in the end passed her on to second grade.

Now she is in a school where they pay attention, in second grade, lacking skills her peers learned in kindergarten.

Catching her up takes hours of extra homework a week. It takes patience and cunning as we work to cool a fear and dislike of learning that’s been baked into her soul for two years. Some days I want to cry. But for her sake I smile.

Categories
family glamorous Zeldman

The Wind-Down

LISTENING to Coltrane. Taking a break after assembling American Girl doll bunk beds. The tuxedo cat has appropriated Ava’s American Girl doll tent as his personal summer house. Ava is making up a song about wishing on a star. End of summer. Happy.

Categories
Design family glamorous

New Sources of Social Awkwardness

MY 6-year-old connected her iPad Smurfs game to my Facebook account, and now she’s sending “I Smurf You” cards to my Facebook contacts.

Categories
glamorous The Essentials

Life is Beautiful

I haven’t slept. For much of last night, my daughter Ava cried out in her sleep with nightmares. Eventually her cries would wake us both. Instead of going back to sleep, Ava would chat with me about her day. I wish I could remember all the amazing things she told me at 2:00 AM.

Around 3:30 or so, we were both asleep when our little dog Emile began barking to be let down from the bed. (He’s too small to hop down himself.) I groaned, rose, and set him gently on the floor; off he trotted to relieve himself on a Wee-wee Pad™ I’d left in the front hallway for just such a contingency.

Moments later we heard an unearthly shrieking. The dog has progressive, incurable, pulmonary fibrosis. The attacks come on suddenly and unpredictably (except that they often most occur after he has relieved himself in the middle of the night). His lungs stop pumping oxygen. He falls over, typically into his own excrement, and goes into what appears to be cardiac arrest. Uncanny shrieks testify to his terror and pain.

Typically I can bring him back by throwing myself on the floor, talking to him, and patting his ribs to get the lungs working again. I did this and my five-year-old was right beside me, helping, and asking if the dog was dying.

“He’s not dying,” I said, confident that this was not the moment. (And luckily, I was right.)

We cleaned the dog and put him back in bed.

“Dad, there are poopy turds on the floor,” my daughter said.

“I know, I’ll clean them in the morning.”

“Dad, there are poopy turds on the floor.”

“I’ll go clean them,” I said.

Around 4:00 AM the three of us cuddled up and my daughter carried on a delightful conversation, mainly by herself, for at least half an hour. Then we were all asleep. And then the 6:00 AM alarm rang.

Kids can keep you up all night but it’s all worth it. Domestic animals give love freely to the least deserving, but their lives are short and their ends are often brutal. And it’s worth it. It is all worth it. Every day, even a sad day blurred by headaches and filled with business meetings, is magical and infinite. This dance, this particular proton dance, will never come again. This tune we’re too busy to hear will not be played again. Never forget to be thankful for your life.


Categories
glamorous SXSW

Flying North

I was in the Austin airport, looking for my gate, when a raspy voice rang out:

“If he wants more than I’m giving him, fuck him. No, seriously, fuck him.”

And I said:

“This must be the flight to New York.”

[tags]NYC, Austin, SXSW, SXSWi, people, glamorous, airports, airtravel, jetblue, flying, jetting[/tags]

Categories
glamorous

Body Talk

For a childhood fever, the doctor gave me Tetracycline. As a side effect, my adult teeth came in with almost no enamel. Enamel is the shiny, white, smooth, sexy part of the tooth. It would be nice to have some. Dentin, which I have in abundance, is yellow like old bones and permeable like shale, given to breakage and to deep grooves that attract stains. Imagine Keith Richards swilling a blend of coffee and urine and you have an idea of what my teeth came in looking like.

To the normal agonies of adolescence, add teeth that put the viewer in mind of pirates and mummies. (On top of which, I was short, very skinny, afraid of everything, and had blackheads.) As a boy I learned to smile with my lips closed, and I still do so without thinking about it. In photographs, even when I am content, I often appear to be frowning or pondering or merely pretending to smile because of this now conditioned muscular behavior.

I am a public speaker and appearance matters, but there is nothing I can do about the look of my smile. Whitening won’t work because whitening requires enamel. Crowning all my teeth would take at least $40,000, and I never seem to have $40,000 lying around.

Then in my 40s, I developed serious gum disease, complete with rapid bone loss. Left untreated, it would certainly cause me to lose my teeth. It would also, for medical reasons I’m not qualified to summarize, greatly increase the chance of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and subject me to constant infection (and thereby, as well, to diseases that take advantage of a continually overtaxed immune system). The bone loss means the teeth are not strong enough to support crowns, so even if someone handed me $40,000, I couldn’t use it to build a pretty smile.

I have other health problems but they don’t bug me like the mouth business.

The other thing that pulverizes my self esteem is these Michael Douglas jowls that have somehow attached themselves to my head. They say to me what her spreading hips say to a woman. To make these jowls disappear, I would need to lose all the other fat on my body first. Like the hips, that’s just how it works. Even Steve Jobs has some middle-aged jowl on his otherwise starved frame.

I’m sure even Brad Pitt has something he hates about his body. An elbow that sometimes chafes, for instance. But is he man enough to tell you about it?

[tags]glamorous, myglamorouslife, zeldman, dentin, enamel, jowls, hips, aging, selfimage, selfesteem, body[/tags]